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It’s been a long wait, but our first few steps in returning to the synagogue are successfully underway! Thanks to our “COVID-19 Synagogue Re-entry Working Group” (a dedicated and capable team comprising synagogue leadership and congregants with a range of relevant expertise, including health, engineering, legal, finance, ritual, and synagogue operations), we’ve developed a small but regular outdoor minyan on our Portico.

We will continue to proceed in a cautious manner that is in compliance with State rules and recommendations of the Working Group, and takes into account our own unique considerations (structural and cultural).  Your safety, as well as the safety of our community and staff, is our primary concern in our cautious return to services.

 

Getting Started: A Small Outdoor Minyan

We are proud of everyone's efforts in organizing a small outdoor, weekday minyan, and commend everyone involved for their ability to maintain safe social distancing. 

Minha/Arbit on Sundays through Thursdays and now, Shahrit services on Mondays and Thursdays, are taking place outdoors on the Central Park West Portico (which has been reinforced with safety measures and increased ventilation), led by Rabbi Ira Rohde and coordinated by Rev. Z. Edinger.

Shabbat morning minyan is beginning outdoors at Manhattan Day School, 310 W 75th St.

Minyan is by registration only. For weekday minyanim, please make sure you request a spot on the Portico Minyan Interest Form, and for Shabbat, please fill out this form. Weekday forms must be submitted by 4pm the day before the minyan you would like to attend, and Shabbat forms by 1pm on Thursday, since space is very limited and only individuals who have been approved will be admitted. See more details below.

 

Adhering to Safety Precautions

We recognize that while working diligently to provide a safe environment, we can only ensure a “safer” environment, not a 100% safe one. No congregant is required to attend. Any congregant who wishes to participate will a) be asked to self-identify as meeting the criteria; b) may be subject to screening upon arrival; c) acknowledges and accepts the risks of attending the minyan; and d) will be waiving any possible claim of any kind against the Synagogue or any of its agents. Those who are in the at-risk categories as described by the CDC and DOH, especially our older worshippers (above age 65), are asked to consult with their physician before completing this form or seeking to attend or attending.  If you have been feeling unwell or have any symptoms associated with COVID-19, please do not attend. 

 

In consultation with our medical experts, engineers and architects, we conducted an engineering study of the portico, and implemented their recommendations for increasing ventilation and ensuring proper social distancing.  Specifically, specialized ceiling and floor fans have been strategically installed to significantly increase airflow, in addition to daily cleaning of all surfaces before services, floor markers for required 6 ft. separation, and mandatory use of face masks/coverings.   

 

Signing Up

We have a very limited number of spots for the minyan for the time-being. If you are interested in attending, you must complete the Portico Minyan Interest Form by 4pm the day before the minyan you would like to attend, or the Shabbat Service form by 1pm on Thursday. Indicating a desire or intent to attend a minyan by submitting this form does not guarantee a place. You will be notified by email prior to the minyan if you are selected to attend.  Only those who have been approved in advance will be permitted to attend.  Furthermore, we reserve the right to ask anyone not to enter, or to leave the service, for any reason, including if we believe that there is a chance they are ill or that their presence may pose a risk to anyone.  If after you are selected, you begin to feel unwell or are not able to attend, please let us know right away so we can invite someone else and ensure there is a minyan. We also ask that if you do attend CSI's minyan, in order to limit exposure and for the purpose of simpifying potential contact tracing, you avoid attending other minyanim.

 

Members of the same family are required to sign up individually. Please submit one form per person.

 

 

What to Expect If You Are Selected

If selected, you will receive an email prior to the minyan advising you that you have been selected and reminding you of the logistics in advance of the minyan.

  • You will be asked to arrive 5-10 minutes before the official start of the service in order for us to manage an orderly check-in.  It is very important that you arrive on time. 

  • Upon arrival, you will be required to be checked in.

  • Please expect to be screened by one of our staff or volunteers.  

  • You will need to wear a face mask/ covering (a shield is not sufficient, although may be worn in addition to a mask) and adhere to strict social distancing. 

  • There will be hand sanitizer available, and we encourage you to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds if you touch any surface.

  • Please bring your own prayer book.  If you do not have one, you can download it here.

  • In order to limit our time together, the service will be abridged and will not include singing.  When minyan is over, please do not linger. We know how much everyone has missed socializing, but unfortunately it is still not safe to do so.

  • There will be no bathroom use for the Minyan on the Portico.

  • You will be required to notify Shearith Israel if after the service you become ill so we may comply with contact tracing requirements and reach out to others who attended.

  • You are expected to comply with these rules; violators of these rules will be asked to leave, and may forfeit their ability to attend future services.

 

We are hopeful that adherence to these rules minimizes the risks of gathering for minyan and will enable daily prayer services to resume. We look forward to your cooperation and patience as we transition our minyan for this new environment. 

 

We look forward to praying with you.

 

Louis Solomon, Parnas

Meir Soloveichik, Rabbi           

Barbara Reiss, Executive Director             

Bonnie Barest, Deputy Executive Director                              

 

Commemorative Synagogue Plates

Plates depicting Shearith Israel's five historic synagogue buildings as well the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI.

1954
First Mill Street Synagogue

The little synagogue on Mill Street was the first structure designed and built to be a synagogue in continental North America. 

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